Waiver Wire: Believing in Mike Leake


Jun 8, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher

Mike Leake

throws against the Philadelphia Phillies in the third inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

With Johnny Cueto being shipped out to the Royals over the weekend, the Reds have begun their trade deadline sale as the 2015 season has being vastly disappointing and underwhelming. Cueto was definitely one of the bright spots of the Reds season, but there have also been other pretty significant contributors.

While they have fantasy mainstays like Jay Bruce, Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Billy Hamilton, and Brandon Phillips, there has been one guy that often gets overlooked.

Mike Leake has been pretty solid over his last three seasons in the big leagues and fantasy owners have been able to rely on him for decent backend production in our rotations. By no means is Leake overpowering or going to light up the radar game, but his results do not lie.

Over the last three seasons, including 2015, Leake has been able to maintain an ERA in the mid-3.00’s, which is a true accomplishment when you factor his stuff and that he plays his home games at Great American Ballpark.

There has been some hesitancy towards Leake fantasy wise, because they either see his stats has being strongly luck driven and somewhat capped as a backend fantasy arm. But, after looking at his FIP and peripherals, it is clear to see that Leake has been able to maintain his success without the complete reliance on luck on balls put in play. (2014 FIP was 3.88 and 2015 FIP is 3.94)

Leak’s career K/9 is 6.2, right about where he has been all year. Nothing too inspiring but certainly functional. Leake is also a pretty renowned innings eater, so he has consistently been able to stay in ballgames and build counting stats.

With the Reds struggles, he may not offer much in the wins department, but I think he offers enough of the other pitching stats that will help owners down the run. Leake has the ability to mask most flaws rotation wise, only helping in the playoff run we are all aiming for.

There is also the possibility, or maybe even certainty, that Leake gets moved to a contender at the deadline. If he can find is way to a contender and maybe even a more pitcher friendly ballpark, it will only go further in establishing his value.

Over his last ten starts, Leake has only given up more than 3 runs, once. Over his last three outings he has been dominant, posting 3 W’s, 7 IP per game, a 1.50 ERA and at least 6 K’s per start.

While most of us in the fantasy community are well aware who Leake is, it is still surprising to see him unowned in a lot of leagues. Whether it may be that fantasy owners are bored of Leake, or are seeking more upside, I am perfectly contempt with filling the backend of my rotation with stability.

I am advising fantasy owners to snag Leake if he is still on your waiver wire. He has the ability and stat production to deserve a spot in your rotation as we are in the midst of our playoff campaigns. Act fast and take advantage of other owners taking Leake and his productivity for granted.